Review by legalystupid

Reviewed: 03/31/08

From the makers of Loco Roco comes a new quirky Rhythm based RTS.

Patapon is a combination of Rhythm based controls a-la PaRappa the Rapper and the real time strategy genre. The controls are simple, you have four different drums that are each assigned to the face buttons and to perform actions you must execute a specific beat in a 4/4 beat, and each action controls your army of Patapon. For example if you wish your army to advance right, the proper beat would be SQUARE SQUARE SQUARE CIRCLE, thus advancing your Patapon forward towards the goal as you rest four beats while the Patapon keep the beat and then you start again. Keeping your rhythm makes the music become all the more vivid from a dull marching drum to a chorus of African war drums and Patapon singing their way to victory.

Game Play 9/10

Patapon is a Rhythm based Real Time Strategy where the action takes place on a side scrolling plane and you execute moves as explained earlier by keeping specific beats and advancing your troops to reach their goal and along the way harvest materials you use to create more powerful units and upgrade your current ones. You are based with various obstacles such as hunting for food, gathering supplies, killing monsters and dealing with opposing armies. Much of the game requires you to judge when to advance attack and defend, but also you need to keep your troops well equipped, and positioned carefully to take advantage of their special skills. There are three main combat types to consider here, the Melee class who charge in the front ranks with axes, the Middle range spear throwers who pummel their targets with spears, and archers who tend to star in the far ranks and continuously hit targets while at a safe distance. Each class has their upgrade as you progress through the game with more powerful soldiers and better weapons. As you progress you will also unlock special rhythm based mini games used to score more items, like playing a trumpet for a dancing tree.
The ability to keep a good rhythm is a must, and the longer you keep it up the more powerful your troops get after a few successful combos you engage the fever mode, where the music becomes more lively and you have the option for deploying special miracles like making it rain in a scorching desert so you can cross.

Graphics 9/10

Patapon has some great visuals that take advantage of the PSP’s crisp widescreen display. Using a similar art style that Loco Roco used, the Patapon world consists of lots of primary colors, silhouettes, and fluid animation making it one of the best looking PSP games released so far. The Patapons themselves are tiny little circle things with a single eye, while the enemies they face are fierce fire breathing dragons and sand worms many times larger than they are. The amount of detail gone into the game is astounding for how simple the graphics are. Environments change depending on the weather from scorching heat that kills everything it touches to downpours that drag your army down and make the flowers dance and bloom.
As with any good rhythm game the sound design is top notch. When you first start out the music is a marching beat to keep the troops going, but the better you get the more the music becomes vivid. Troops sing and dance to the beat as you play until eventually you are operating an orchestra of Marching drums and singing Patapon who all have very thick Japanese accents. Here is where I say if you’re interested in buying the game to go out and download the demo for free because when the video game awards come out, I’m nominating this game over Guitar Hero or any Final Fantasy game. I’ve literally had objects thrown at me because the music is so catchy that my family members start realizing they’re singing along.

Conclusion 9/10

By far the best game on the PSP released so far. Unique game play, excellent visuals and outstanding sound design all packed into one make Patapon one of the best games I own, and at $20 bucks (US) make this a steal.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Patapon (US, 02/26/08)

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